Former AC Milan defender Mauro Tassotti has revealed his hope that Davide Calabria follows his path, plus the name of a player he recommended to the management.
Tassotti made his Serie A debut with Lazio but went on to play with Milan for 17 years winning 17 major titles with Milan in that time, including five Serie A championships and three UEFA Champions League tournaments.
He was part of a defensive department containing Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Filippo Galli and Christian Panucci under managers Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello, forming what is considered by many to be the best defence of all time.
Tassotti spoke during an interview with Tuttosport on the eve of the game between Milan and Lazio, his two former sides.
“They are my teams, the ones I am fond of. The first opened the way to professionalism and I lived my training years, in the other I after all the rest of my career,” he said (via Calciomercato.com).
“Lazio must win to hope to reach the top four, Milan still have a margin even if it has recently decreased. Ibra and Kessie are the players who can decide it for the Rossoneri, the Ivorian has pulled the cart throughout the season without ever stopping. In Inzaghi’s team, they chose Immobile, who has been scoring a lot for years, Milinkovic and Acerbi.”
Tassotti spoke about the two coaches who will square off tomorrow in Stefano Pioli and Simone Inzaghi, both of whom are regarded to have done a good job with their respective clubs.
“They did a great job. Inzaghi led Lazio to the top, also winning the Coppa Italia and Super Cup as well as returning to the Champions League. It’s hard to ask him for more. If last year the season stop had not arrived, they could also have won the Scudetto.
“Pioli worked well in a complicated situation where there was already talk of Rangnick’s arrival. Maldini was good at supporting him and making him feel the trust of the club. The penalties at Milan? They are the consequence of the domination of the game.”
With six games left it seems as though the Scudetto will be too big an ask for Milan this season, but Tassotti went on to praise how long the team fought for it.
“They have been in the lead for a long time, rightly they have tried. Milan have been achieving positive results for a year, they are the team that has managed Inter’s pace more than the others this season. Then it also dropped due to injuries, in particular those of Ibra, Bennacer and Romagnoli who were out for a long time.
“It is difficult for both Milan and Lazio to get top four. Inter have a safe place, Juve will hardly stay out. It will be a balanced challenge with many direct clashes.”
On the possibility of there being a ‘new Tassotti’ at Milan, he added: “I was there 17 years in a row at Milan, I hope that Calabria, who plays in my role, can follow the same path. He is a strong player who can make an important career.
“It is clear that he must have around him a high-level team to aim for the Champions League. Lazzari is the right signing for Lazio. He has settled in immediately and can grow further. He plays in the same area of the pitch but with different characteristics: I had to defend, he acts later on.”
Tassotti is currently the assistant to former team-mate Andriy Shevchenko for the Ukrainian national team, and he has revealed that he recommended a player from the country to Milan in Dynamo Kiev left-back Vitaliy Mykolenko.
“I never spoke to Milan. When they asked me for an interesting profile of Ukrainian football, I mentioned his name. He is a young player who could serve the Rossoneri, but you have to give him time to grow. Sheva sooner or later wants to coach a club. As Ukraine coach he is doing very well, the results show it.”
“A future at Milan? I go where my work takes me, the important thing is how it feels to work. At Milan I arrived at 20 and left at 56, they adopted me. It is my home and the place where I have been best. 36 years of football is a lifetime. As deputy I was fine, a relationship had been created that went beyond work and I felt fulfilled like that.”